By Kimberly Speight Fri Aug 26, 9:13 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) -
Sean Astin, who starred in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is joining the cast of Fox's real-time drama "24," which will again kick off its season with four episodes screening on two consecutive nights.
Astin will portray a new addition to the Counter Terrorist Unit in the drama series, which stars
Kiefer Sutherland as agent Jack Bauer.
The fifth season will premiere with two episodes from 8-10 p.m. January 8, followed by two from 8-10 p.m. January 9 (the second episode January 9 will be the show's 100th). On January 16, the fifth hour of "24" will air in the show's regular 9 p.m. Monday slot.
The scheduling strategy is designed to let viewers watch an entire season on a weekly basis without repeats or pre-emptions.
Season 5 will pick up 18 months after the fourth season ended, with Jack presumably dead but actually living a new life with Diane (
Connie Britton) and her son Derek (Brady Corbet).
Jean Smart ("Frasier") is set to play first lady Martha Logan.
Astin is shooting Columbia Pictures' feature film "Click" opposite
Adam Sandler and
Kate Beckinsale and has wrapped the upcoming Lions Gate film "Borderland."